Natural and non-toxic ideas for cleaning and polishing metals such as silver, gold, pewter, chrome, bronze, brass, copper, stainless steel, and more. Includes recipes for pastes and other solutions made from common household ingredients.
Anyone who knows me knows that if I can find a way to clean using natural ingredients, I will. Especially when cleaning naturally is not only safer, but often more effective than using commercial products. The following allows me more ways to clean safely and effectively without the use of harmful chemicals.
Soak silver jewelry in lemon or lime juice. Rinse well with hot water. Polish until dry.
Place gold jewelry in glass container and cover with warm water. Add 1/2 teaspoon liquid handsoap, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and a few squirts of toothpaste (not gel) to the jar. Cover and shake well. Allow to sit for an hour or two, shaking once or twice. Remove jewelry from jar and rinse well in warm water. Polish dry with a soft cloth.
Silver Tarnish Remover
Line stainless steel pot with aluminum foil and place in sink. Put silver item in pot and cover with hot water. Add one tablespoon salt and one tablespoon baking soda to pot. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes, agitating a bit if needed. Note that the silver item MUST be in contact with the aluminum foil for this to work correctly. Rinse well and polish dry.
(Do not use on figurines or other items where it's important that shading be preserved. Also do not use on glued items and I recommend against using on your precious gemstones!)
Although I have not personally tried it, they say that the water left over from boiling potatoes is also good for cleaning silver. Will have to give that a try the next time I boil some potatoes and have some silver to clean.
Chrome Cleaning Solution
Rub apple cider vinegar on chrome. Rinse well with warm water and polish dry.
Copper and Brass Cleaning Solution
Using a soft cloth or sponge, rub metal with lemon juice. Can also do one part lemon juice and one part white vinegar. If necessary, allow to soak overnight. Rinse well with warm water and polish dry.
Copper, Brass, and Bronze Corrosion Remover
Cut lemon in pieces and dip in hot vinegar and salt. Rub metal with lemon piece and rinse well. Polish dry.
Copper and Brass Cleaning Paste
Make a paste from cream of tartar and water. Using a soft cloth or sponge, rub onto metal and allow to dry. Rinse well in hot water and polish dry with clean soft cloth.
Tarnish Remover for Copper Pans
Using soft cloth, rub on Worcestershire sauce or catsup. Rinse well with warm water and polish dry.
Stainless Steel Cleaning Paste
Make a paste with borax and water. Rub on stainless steel with a soft cloth. Rinse well with warm water and polish dry.
Baking Soda Paste
Can be used to clean gold, silver, chrome, and stainless steel. Make a paste with baking soda and water. Rub on metal with a soft cloth. For getting into the intricate designs especially found on silver pieces, use a clean mascara brush or soft toothbrush. Rinse paste completely with warm water and polish dry.
Bonus idea: Club soda works wonders on cleaning your jewelry gems and bringing out their sparkle!